Monday, September 30, 2013

Games Indians Play - Why We are the Way We are

Games Indians Play - Why We are the Way We are by V.Ragunathan (2006) [170P] ISBN: 0-

67099-940-7 Penguin Books

Book Review: Kavneet Singh

An intriguing book written by a professor and a economist teaching currently in Europe. Testing 

his theory by using behavioral economics and game theory to see why Indians are prone to certain 

negative traits, it is really interesting that finally someone is at least scratching the surface of this 

most intriguing issue.

Chapter 1:

Many may take umbrage at my inherent proposition that we are largely a less-civilized people 

than most other major nationalities and hence we need to take afresh look at ourselves ........... 

[page 17]

Ragunathan has hit the nail on the head as the average `Indian' is highly unethical, corrupt 

to the core with no civic sense in the public sphere at all.

Chapter 2:

However, the theories also prove both theoretically and empirically that such selfishness need not 

come in the way of cooperation, and hence in the overall betterment of the human race ....... [page 


Indians are as intelligent as anyone else worldwide but when it comes their behavior vis a vis 

the state it is very dismal. Civic sense, corruption from the very top to the absolute bottom and 

throughout the system is endemic and will not change even with the rise in education.

Chapter 3:

Here I am being pr

we no longer even seem to suffer a guilty conscience when we give or take bribes. We stand mute 

witness to gross injustice...... [pages 42 & 46]

The fatalistic thinking which seems to be inborn is definitely tinged with inherent cowardice, low 

self esteem and no pride in their surroundings which are not their own.

ivately smart.....publicly we emerge dumb. So fatalistic have we become that 

Chapter 4:

Tit for Tat in Political Life — It is common to see two politicians belonging to different parties 

go for each other's throats. Yet come elections, the two get together, like long lost siblings in the 

final reel of a Bolly-voocl f ick, to form a coalition...... [page 63] The extreme shamelessness 

of an Indian in any business or life's general dealings with others is always one sided. Any and 

all advantages are to be maximized but if it becomes even more advantageous to sleep with the 

enemy then so be it.

Chapter 5:

How can we ask for the participation of'foreign universities when there is nothing in it for them? 

Where is the `live and let live' policy here? Clearly, we are more worried about what they might 

get out of coming to India than what we might get out of it!......[page 70]

The self-righteous behavior coupled with being abundantly selfish with absolutely no compunction 

about the greater good of all is now the national norm and part of the social culture in India.

Chapter 6:

Forget the dismal state of our public urinals, even the national carrier is occasionally known to 

sz ffer from toilet bowls brimming over mid-flight. Clearly, this has nothing to do with poverty, 

or lack of resources or the economic status of the users. It is our defect-defect behavior and 

utter lack of self-regulation..... Undoubtedly, our defect-defect behavior lies at the root of our 

filth, corruption and chaos.....We are glib Indians. Not for nothing does Amartya Sen club 

us the `Argumentative'Indian(s)... . Videotape and cellphone evidence is rubbished with a 

straight face... .we neither penalize wrongdoers ourselves, nor do we expect our judiciary to do 

so.....Little wonder that our heayweights have nothing but disdain for our institutions of law and 

justice.......Surely we are grand democracy of defections. Our guilty are free to defect against the 

spirit of the judiciary through innumerable adjournments; our judicial system is free to defect not 

dispensing timely justice; a functioning anarchy, as John K. Galbraith called us......... [pages 77,78, 

99,100,10] & 104]

World class free loaders, Indians will stoop to any level so that they can gain personally making 

sure in the bargain that the proverbial other definitely does not gain even if it is to their own 

detriment and expense. This ingrained, negative, self defeating psychology and trying to find chinks 

in the law to thwart at will is really unique.

Chapter 7:

The world renowned Hoover Institution has an essay on India, `India: Asia's Next Tiger?' 

by Hilton L. Root on their website, which is indeed insightful; Root

writes..... Where departments allocate licenses, subsidize goods, or raise money by black market 

sales (i.e., transport, public, health, civil supplies, the development authority for land and projects), 

posts can command a good pr

corruption.......[pages 113 & 114]

The entire system has been planned by design to be centralized whereby the power stays in the 

hands of the rulers who wield it with the deft of a professional magician. The power brokers and 

king makers at the very top have used their so-called religious texts as the foundation to build upon 

this extremely digressive system which then has slowly

permeated into every nook and cranny of the country with the stealth of the AIDS virus. Since the 

common man cannot change the system `he' has learnt to beat it in any and every way he can to 

survive and over the last 60 years it has become the norm.

Chapter 8:

Defection is our national trait. So also is looking for loopholes in practically every law or system. 

Ifs fact much of the Indian legal system, particularly at higher levels, revolves around capitalizing 

on this trait. Be it our company law or criminal law, we thrive on finding loopholes in these 

laws...... [page 130]

The legal system is falling apart just like the decrepit court houses in India. Procedures are 

purposely kept so lengthy that the average civil case takes upwards of 15 years while the lawyers 

have milked the clients for all they are worth while justice remains a mirage.

Chapter 9:

`Am I doing the right thing?' is the only relevant question. That `others may cheat' is 

irrelevant..... [page 136]

Indians will always stress themselves out and are needlessly stuck in the horns of dilemma 

wondering what advantages does the `other' get and will never be satisfied that `they' are supposed 

to simply do the right thing which is ethical and moral by any standard. Lord Wavell of Britain, 

based on his dealings and observations of the infamous Mohandas K. Gandhi, called it the 

`haggling bania syndrome!'

Chapter 10:

I have shown how, as supported by game theory, it pays to follow the dharma, or right conduct. 

But I am not well-versed in the Gita. Nor am I sure if I subscribe to all references to clharma, for 

instance, those pertaining to the caste system.....Clearly, while the West, using its cumbersome 

vehicle ofgame theory, has covered a lot of ground in collective cooperative behavior, we seem 

to have made little headway in that direction, notwithstanding our heritage of the Gita...... [page 


Ragunathan has made sense in the entire book except this final chapter where he tried to apply 

the holy Hindu religious text `Gita' as a book of good conduct and righteousness. He accepts 

and acknowledges his limited knowledge of the Gita with a word of caution. Unfortunately the 

author does not realize the root of problem, i.e., `why Indians are the way they are,' actually lies 

in the Gita. Careful reading of the Gita shows us that every moral code and ethic known to man 

is thwarted at will by the most revered `dark' lord Krishna. Krishna a perpetual philanderer and 

a shrewd politician act's exactly like one. If the holiest of `holy gods' can act and behave like an 

immoral, unethical mortal what can be expected from mere [Hindus] Indians. Even the Bhagvad 

Gita commands that one is supposed to follow ones caste rules and therein lie's another problem. 

Indians especially those who follow the Hindu socio-religious philosophy behave exactly like the 

fairytale characters of all the ancient lore of the Mahabharata and Ramayana, by simply twisting 

the truth for the benefit of the petty self instead of at least trying to live honestly. All the followers 

are living in tiny proverbial compartments due to the deep rooted caste system and jockeying for a 

better position constantly which then in turn creates a self negating selfish mentality trying to outdo 

the other in any which way they can, to get out and get ahead.

This book is a good start on trying to discover the basic deep rooted problems of Indians. 

If the author had done more research for his last and most important chapter a truer and 

much more honest picture would have emerged. The author is himself a Hindu so faith 

biases are understandable but what Ragunathan is trying to uncover, namely the reason for 

Indians to be so unethical and callous, he needs to re-read the Bhagvad Gita and the other 

Hindu religious books with an open mind and will be shocked to see a completely different 

picture emerge, shedding light on the problem he is trying so hard to solve.

An interesting book which all self deluding, hypocritical, egotistical and religious Indians 

should read so that they wake up and change for the collective good.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mahabharata — A Military Analysis: Lt.Col. GD Bakshi

Mahabharata — A Military Analysis: Lt.Col. GD Bakshi (1990) [96P] Lancer Intl, ISBN: 81-


Book Review: Kavneet Singh

Lt.Col GD Bakshi was commissioned in November 1971 into the Sixth Battalion the 

Jammu & Kashmir Rifles. Instructor, Indian Military Academy, 1977-80. Graduate of 

Defense Services Staff College 1983, Brigade Major of Infantry Brigade 1984-85. He 

took premature retirement from the Army to write books.

GD Bakshi seems to be diehard fan and is smitten by

Myth is the basis of reality. The Mahabharata is a significant military myth of the Indian people. 

It provides a very deep psychological insight into the makings of the Indian military mind.....[Page 


Even though Bakshi admits that the "M" is a myth it is shocking to envision sane 

individuals believing in the myth and analyzing it as though it is a historical fact and 

using it as genuine source material.

Chapter 1:

The Indian soldier has been excellent fighting material. To understand why, we must 

understand the myth ofiM~Iahahharata.....[Page 6]

Bakshi forgets that if the Indian soldier was excellent fighting material why did the 

Mughals rule the Indian subcontinent for nearly one millennia. Further Bakshi accepts that 

this fairy tale "exaggerations have been blown it out of all proportion", and forgets that it is a 

tale which has been written by multiple authors over time who wrote a fantastic story due 

to the inherent inferiority complex and being subjugated as Hindus of that time. In trying 

to understand this fairytale the shocking realization is that it is about Brahminical Hindu 

subjugation of the aboriginal people of the present Indian subcontinent. A famous writer 

says, "the very ethos of the caste order precluded it from providing the cohesion, `unity of 

purpose'," so with a perpetual disunity there is no way to make an Indian-Hindu soldier 

good fighting material.

Chapter 2:

The Gita provides one of the most coherent ideological basis for war. It provides a value system 

that overcomes the stresses of battle. The quest for perfection is an end in itself.. .[Page 13].

 the Mahabharata.

The Gita is a dialogue between Krishna and Ai juna. The dark lord Krishna more a politician than a 

god is extolling Aijuna on doing his `caste duty' to fight and kill his first cousins who he is having 

second thoughts about killing. Krishna has basically through psycho mumbo jumbo convinced a 

soldier [Ai.juna] who has suddenly found his conscience to become a killing machine and throw all 

morals and ethics to the wind. This goes against all normal human values. No wonder it is sad that 

Hinduism has no ethical, moral code of conduct.

Chapter 3:

`Vishnu' therefore personifies a civilizational revival or a renewal of lost vitality; a 

restoration of the moral and ethical basis of civilization.....[Page 18]

The author is talking about renewing moral and ethical values when in reality Krishna the 8th 

incarnation of Vishnu; in the Gita is inherently telling i j una to forget about all those human values 

which should not be forgotten. This dichotomy is hard to fathom and does not make any

Chapter 4:

The Hindu literature there is no second work which can be called "national" in the same sense 

as the Mahabharata. The reader I at once struck by two features: in the first place its unity in 

complexity; and in the second its constant effort to impress upon its hearers the idea of a single, 

centralized India with a heroic tradition of her own as a formative and uniting impulse... .[Page 


How in the world can the Mahabharata be called a national work! It is a myth expounded by the 

followers of Santana Dhrama but millions of others do not even believe in it. Furthermore there 

was never a unified "India" till the British put over 550 different little countries together. The word 

India did not exist till the British coined it. Hindu ultra nationalists will find any material including 

a `myth' to prove their argument.

Chapter 5:

The Indian School at 1400BC seems to predate the Chinese by a thousand years.

However, this conclusion is subject to the validation of the actual age of the l 

viahabharata..... [Page 29]

The Mahabharata cannot be validated to date, simply because there have been multiple authors 

writing and rewriting as time progressed and to add to the confusion there have been more than 

several different renditions over time.

Chapter 6:

The end justifies the means; that is the keynote ofKrishna's military philosophy. He has laid great 

stress on; (a) Deception... . (b) Subtef fifge.... (c) Relentless offensive

action..... (d) Use of cunning methods... Psychological Warfare-The War of the Mind: All through 

the course of this war the Pandavas under the advice ofKrishna resorted to Psy Warfare to weaken 

the enemy's will to fight, to play adversely upon the minds of key commanders and even to spread 

discord in the enemy camp.......[Page 37 & 41] It explicitly clear that the dark lord Krishna has no 

scruples whatsoever and truth can be thwarted for any reason as the end justifies the means. If the 

entire Hindu faith follows this core principle and the Gita being the most revered `holy' book of all, 

then that really

sheds [dark] light on the very basic religious foundation of the people that follow this faith. No 

wonder all minorities in modern India are treated like hated enemies and all available [il] legal 

means are used against them with impunity.

Chapter 7:

The authenticity of these vast numbers is debatable.....[Page 49J

It is hilarious that a serious military analysis is being done by the author who accepts that the `M' is 

a myth and all numbers are debatable. Then why analyze a fairytale?

Chapter 8:

The ancient art of war placed great emphasis on the theory and practice of such Vyhas or battle 

drills. These battle drills represent the Indian genius for war and deserve to be studied in very 

great detail.....[Page 67]

Looks like all the ancient Indian art of war was not seriously

True fighting spirit has always been missing in the Indian [Hindu] soldiers because of the over 

dependence on guile and chicanery taught in their `holy' Mahabharata and secondly a highly 

retrograde caste system that completely divides people.

Chapter 9:

The Manu Sinriti says that the king should trust no one and keep even his own queen under 

continuous surveillance. All relatives, ministers and important courtiers must similarly be watched. 

Excellent espionage and security networks existed in the time of the iVahabharata...... [Page 71]

Manu Simriti the holy bible of the `caste system' extorts suspicion of everyone. The very basic 

structure is built upon lies, prejudice and injustice.

Chapter 10:

Dharam Yudh or `Just War' Concept. A war should be just' in terms of cause and motive. If the end 

or cause is just, any means — ethical or otherwise — may be used in its prosecution...... [Page 75]

The key word here is `just'. The problem lies in the definition of the word just; as it can mean 

something very different when defined based on the Mahabharata versus some other religious or 

non-religious ethical entities.

Chapter 11:

Hence the need to study the 1MMIahabharata concept of just war'. At the very least, it highlights 

the cynical importance of painting the enemy as `black' and ourselves as `lily white'. This helps 

national morale and morale is a war-wi nning factor. It is so in the time of Mahabharata' — it 

remains so today.......[Page 83J

This is so true, because this is exactly how all the minorities, lower castes, other Faith groups 

have been subjugated perpetually and treated as the enemy in India especially in the last 60 years.

Chapter 12:

Krishna is a great statesman, a great strategist, the founder of democracy in India in an age 

when hereditary, kings ruled the roost, a great general, Pluto's version of a

 followed centuries thereafter. 

philosopher-king and last but not least a great lover. He is the Indian ideal of manhood..... A text 

as vast as the lvi ahabharata needs to be treated with respect. It indeed is an invaluable `National 

Epic' with a universal message. It is an invaluable psychological document...... [Pages 87, 88 & 92]

It is remarkable to call the dark lord Krishna a great statesman based on the extremely world class 

level of unethical and immoral behavior. He uses every scheming base instinct to advise Aijuna in 

the battlefield. Most pimps and gigolos would be saints in comparison to Krishna's amorous and 

raunchy love life. If Krishna is the Hindu ideal of manhood then in most civilized countries today 

such an individual would be called a world class `scoundrel' at the very minimum. So the question 

arises, what is so valuable within this `fairytale' since there is no universal message within it. I 

do give the author this, i.e., that the `M' is an invaluable document to show the extremely deviant 

minds of the authors and the actors in it. Most importantly it goes to show that the followers of the 

`M' really beat to different drummer; the highly [un] ethical kind.

By doing a military analysis the author has inadvertently done a favor to the readers by candidly 

detailing the seamy war fairytale. Anyone trying to understand the true Hindu [Brahmin] psyche 

needs to add this small book to their list.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Myth of the Holy Cow:

The Myth of the Holy Cow by D.N.Jha (2002) [183P] ISBN: 1-85984-676-9

w jww .versobooks. coin

Book Review: Kavaneet Singh

I)Nvij endra Narayan Jha is a retired Professor of History from the University of Delhi. Also was Chair 

of the Indian Historical Society 2004-2005. He has several Nell-known books to his credit. A genuine 

scholar who has a passion for researching the truth based on historical evidence and not myth based pseudo 

religious history.

Chapter 1 — `Animals are verily food' but Yajnavalkya Favors Beef:

Cattle hide was used in a variety of ways. The bowstring (ya) was made of a thong of cowhide — a practice 

that may have continued in later times. The differrent parts of the chariot were tied together with leather 

straps, also needed for binding arrow to the shaft.....Leather tongs were used for not only making snares 

but also for a musical instrument called aodha....[Pages 37 & 38]

The utilitarian value of the entire hide of the cow is so unique that it was used in the medieval times and 

continues to this day. It is a mockery of common sense, when nearly a billion Hindus wear leather sandals/

shoes, carry leather wallets, sling leather handbags, travel in automobiles made of leather seats, tie leather 

belts around their waists and yet claim the cow as holy. Dead cows alone would barely satisfy the pent-
up demand of a billion Hindu consumers. Furthermore the life sustaining liquid of the cow is a direct 

biological process within the cow to produce milk. So if the cow is so holy, no milk products should be 

used at all, as there is no difference between drinking its milk or eating its flesh!

The killing of cattle and eating of meat were fairly common among the Vedic Indians. But the Vedic texts 

were not always unanimous in recommending the killing of animals for sacrifice and other purposes......

the undermining of the world of Brahmanic sacrifice did not lead to the disappearance of beef or any 

other meat from the Indian diet. [Pages 41-42]

In most ritual sacrifices especially those most profitable to the presiding Brahmin, the killing of cows

was not uncommon. Prof. Jha is right in his assessment that pastoral nomadic communities of the 

foreign Aryans finally started to settle into a more agricultural economic lifestyle which led to less

need for meat and more vegetarian diet thereby slowly making the cow a dairy producer rather than a 

meat producer also. All readers need to be reminded that the top three castes who follow Brahminism

and consider the cow holy are barely 15% of the entire so-called Hindu population as the rest have 

been coopted and the illiterate, brainwashed into putting the cow on a pedestal.

Chapter 2 — The Rejection of Animal Sacrifice: An Assertion of the Sacredness of the Cow?

The prohibition of the killing of birds and fish, she-goats, sheep, and swine (pig) is indicative of the fact 

that their flesh was generally eaten; so was the case with the flesh of the bull (sandaka) and other cattle — 

and Asoka's silence about the cow certainly indicates that it had not achieved the sanctity that it came to 

acquire in later timmmes.....[Page 66]

During the time of the Buddhist King a lot of the commonly eaten animals were banned but not the 

cow, which clearly indicates that the cow was eaten by many, otherwise there would be a ban on it too.

Sri Lankan Buddhists continue o eat meat, including beef and f sh.....[Page 71]

Buddhists are considered part of Dharmic Hinduism yet they continue to relish and eat beef.

Moharajaparajaya, in which a character argues that just as one drinks cow's milk one may eat cow meat

without incurring sin.......Panclita Dhanapala, who figures prominently in one of his

stories, even questions the sacredness of the cow.....[Page 76]

The Jains who have today been completely subsumed by the Hindus seem to clearly question and

disagree, with the issue of the sanctity of the cow.

Both made major departures from Vedic beliefs and practices, but, curiously, neither held the cow 

sacred ...... [Page 787

With all the time to debate and consider these mundane issues it is strange that both the Buddhists 

and the Jains did not consider the cow sacred or important enough to be made `holy'.

Chapter 3 — The Later Dhar nasastric Tradition and Beyond:

Kautilya's general dictum of non-injury (ahimsa) being the duty of all classes and Asoka's pious wishes to 

disallow flesh in the royal kitchen did not stand in the way of cow slaughter. [Page 90]

There is no question that cow killing continued except it was a mixed bags of goods due to the 

myriad of groups all across the `greater pre-Indian' sub-continent.

The Puranas, whose compilation ranges in elate from the early Christian centuries to about the 

eighteenth century, have much in common with the law books mentioned above. They do not impose a ban 

on flesh foocl, and even the later ones among them, continue to refer to the use of meat in rituals........In

any case, the very fact that the Puranas prescribed butchery of buffaloes indicates that that they did not 

show any special veneration for the bovids. Notwithstanding their unprecedented glorification from the

second half'of the first millennia AD onwards... .[Pages 94 & 95J

Pretty much all the religious writings of the Sanatan Dharmis have been written by hundreds of authors 

over centuries, not to mention the various renditions. As the culture changed over the centuries so did

socio-cultural practices which were deeply intertwined with the religious practices, and this was part of 

the change in attitude towards the sanctity of the cow. But this still does not change the fact that there is 

absolutely no clarity anywhere about the holiness of the cow.

Similarly Sita 'sfascination for meat can be inferred from several passages of the text. While crossing the 

Ganga she promises to offer her rice cooked with meat and thousands of jars of wine when her husband

accomplishes his vow. Sita's love for deer meat makes her husband chase and kill Marcia disguised as the 

fabulous golden deer......... Guha offers fish, meat and honey to Bharata, and fresh and dried meat along

with other things to his army. Bharadvaja also extends generous hospitality to Bharata 's troops, regaling 

them with meat and wine, and welcomes Rama by slaughtering the `fatted calf'...... [Page 97]

A close reading of the Mahabharata and then the Ramayana by Valmiki clearly shows numerous instances

of beef eating, meat eating in general but also drinking liquor by the fairy gods. These happen to be the 

most revered scriptures by the Sanatan Dharmis who today, claim the cow as holy.

Be that as it may, there is substantial evidence against the inherent sanctity of the bovine 

including the cow...... [Page 100]

Prof. Jha has copious references in his book which prove beyond a doubt that the holiness of the cow is a 

very recent fabrication of the Hindu right for a sinister agenda.

In other words, non-killing of cows and abstention from eating flesh could not have been a mark of 

community identity for brahmanas or the brahmanical social order...... the Dharmasastra texts continue 

to uphold the tradition of flesh esh eating. As late as seventh century Visvanatha Nyaya-Pancanana, a

great logician who also wrote on the Simirits, vehemently advocates the eating of flesh by brahmanas 

on occasions like sacrifices, sraddhas and madshuparka and when life is in danger; he also ridicules the 

south Indian brahmanas, who deprecate meat......[Pages 102 & 109]

On one hand the religious edicts of the Brahminical Sanatan Dharmis are made to micro manage their 

lives. On the other hand the dichotomy is that there are so many contradictions within individual 

books that clarity in general is foggy at best. Compounding the problem even further is that there 

were and are hundreds of divergent denominations in and outside the pale of Sanatan

Chapter 4 — The Cow in the Kali Age and Memories of Beef Consumption:

The Vyasasmrti thus categorically states that a cow killer is untouchable (antyaja) and even by talking to 

him one incurs sin......... [Page 114]

Based on the above fact all Brahmins who used to sacrifice cows at the prayer alter and then eat 

them would automatically become untouchables. Indeed a paradox!

The Dharamsastras are generally silent about whether the carcass was to be eaten or not, but the Sankhas 

zriti prescribes a fifteen-day penance for one who eats a dead calf though curiously a Jana Sangha (now

BJP) ideologue permits, without equivocation, the eating of the flesh of cows dying a natural death...... 

Most of the religious books of the Hindus are written in a manner that they always leave a door 

open to slip out of a tight situation. Interpretations change and on many occasions there are 

arguments to both sides, yet no side, leaving the reader flummoxed. The above is just a snippet of

the literature on cow eating which exists, but since the overwhelming followers rarely read, instead 

argue endlessly and violently proclaim the holiness of the cow.

In any case Alberuni 's informants evidently retained the memory of the old custom of 

slaughtering the cow and eating its flesh. Thus while non-vegetarian diet continued in 

Brahminical circles.....[Page 118]

Even among Brahmins there were Brahmins of various hues from the Kashmiri, to the Bengali, to 

the Nambudri in the south. Each sub-group defined their own list of dietary customs; then further 

compounding the problem by adding and editing the prevailing religious texts. No wonder there are 

hundreds of renditions all dissimilar in nature to create more confusion with no clarity.

Sacrificial killing of cows and buffaloes, for example, was practiced at Toclgarh in Merwara (Rajasthan) 

until 1874 when the local Rawats entered into an agreement to abstain from beef eating........For 

example, the Saoras (S'abaras) of'Orissa, who are known to have formerly sacrificed cows and bullocks 

and to have eaten their flesh, under Brahminical influence almost gave up the practice by the 1950s. This 

may indicate he general pattern of acculturations in India..... [Pages 120 & 121]

In case after case the Brahmins have used overt or covert methods of coercion to get others to 

stop killing and eating beef. A very small minority, namely the Brahmins first design a socio

economic structure, then put the garb of religion on it, which they keep editing on whim and expect 

the rest to follow. Those who do not fall in step are brought to heel through various methods, in order

to `mainstream' them, into Brahminism (Sanatan Dharma aka Hinduism).

Chapter 5 — A Paradoxical Sin and the Paradox of the Cow:

Lawgivers from MMMIanu onwards are generally unanimous in describing cow killing as a minor sin, 

but do not lay down a uniform penalty for the cow killer.... [Page 128]

According to the 'Manu' the lawgiver (the same man, who designed the diabolical `caste system'), 

the killing of a cow is a very minor offence.

Thus even within brahmana circles there is divergence of attitudes towards cow 

slaughter... .[Page 129]

Prof Jha shows the discrepancies among the Brahmins themselves on the issue of the cow.

According to Baudhayana, the land becomes pure when a cow walks on it and drinking gruel of barley that 

has passed through a cow is a meritorious act... .A mere touch of cow dung, he tells us, cleanses a man and 

metal objects can be cleaned by smearing with cow clung or immersing in cow urine...... [Page 130]

Cow dung and cow urine being used for a religious purpose eons ago may make sense, but today the use

of excreta and waste of an animal being widely used, boggles the mind. What has either got to do with 

becoming a better human being? Secondly the diseases which can be passed from animal to human are

revolting and very scary! Little wonder, cow urine is sold as a drink for humans in the state of Gujarat. 

The cows in India eat practically all the garbage lying on the wayside and I pray no one starts making

vegetarian cow dung patties since beef patties are banned at McDonalds.

According to Yajnavalkya the mouths of goats and horses are pure but that of a cow is not; nor is human 

excrement.....[Pages 132 & 133]

I am not sure whether it is the height of amusement or stupidity, that, the mouth of a cow is not pure but 

its waste is holy and pure! These very convoluted ideologies are the paradoxes which Prof Jha has sharply

Although a Brahminical concoction, this myth was intended to rationalize the Dharamsastric view for 

which there appears no logical basis. A late nineteenth century account, in fact, refers to a brahmana

priest waving a wild cow's tail over his clients to scare away Clemons while they were bathing in a sacred 

pool at Hardwar, and it is difficult to imagine how one could get a tail of the animal without killing 

The above historical incident shows the consistent contradictions about the sanctity of the cow.

Chapter 6 — Resume: The Elusive `Holy Cow':

The Taittiriya Brahmana categorically tells us: `Verily the cow is food' (althoannam vai gaup) and 

Yajnavalkya's insistence on eating the tender (amsala) flesh of'the cow is well known.....[Page 139]

The most important 'rishis' ate and relished beef especially of young fattened calves.

The sacred thread ceremony for its part was not all that sacred; for it was necessary f or a snataka 

to wear an upper garment of cowhide.... [Page 139]

Here is a clear dichotomy of the `janeau' ceremony. One could not wear cow hide unless it came from a 

dead cow which was killed. Scriptural hypocrisy at its best!

Archaeological evidence, in fact, suggests non-ritual killing of cattle. This is indicative of the fact that 

beef and other animal flesh formed part of the dietary culture of people and that edible

flesh was not always ritually consecrated...... [Page 140]

Beef and meat in general was eaten and not necessarily killed only for sacrificial purposes but simply 

for daily sustenance by the Brahminical Hindus.

In the Gupta period, Kalidasa alludes to the story ofRantideva who killed numerous cows every day in his 

kitchen.....Later Sriharsa mentions a variety on non-vegetarian delicacies served at a dazzling marriage

feast and refers to two interesting instances of cow killing.....[Page 143]

Prof Jha has shown plenty of evidence which disapproves the Hindu right's insistence of the fact that the 

cow is holy and that beef eating is banned in their faith.

Also, Mahatma Gandhi spoke of the hypocrisy of the orthodox Hindus who `do not so much as hesitate 

or inquire when during illness the doctor°....prescribes them beef tea'. Even today 72 communities in 

Kerala — not all of'them untouchable perhaps — prefer beef to the expensive mutton and the Hincluvata

forces are persuading them to go easy on it.....[Page 145]

Curiously all the modern day quirks of beef eating exist among not only Hindus in Kerala but all across — 

from central India to the far north-east, tribals, dalits and many others still eat beef

Ianu, the food smelt by a cow has to be purified.......Among, the later° juridical texts, 

those ofAngirasa, Parasara, Nyasa and so on, support the idea of the cow's mouth being impure. The

lawgiver Sankha categorically states that all limbs of the cow are pure except the mouth...... [Page 146]

It is through the unholy mouth, all the grass/fodder is eaten to produce the milk, etc, so how can the rest 

of the cow be holy. Either the entire cow is holy or it is not. Actually the buffalo's meat and its milk is,

even better than the cow's. I wonder if that makes the buffalo holier than the cow? One cannot have it both 

It was killed but the killing was not killing. When it was not slain, mere remembering the old practice of 

butchery satisfied the brahmanas. Its five products including feces and urine has been

considered puree but not its mouth...... [Page 146]

It is perplexing that the waste of an animal is holy, but the mouth is unholy. Some issues are best left 

on the wayside otherwise all the believers become a laugh stock. Even common sense has taken a 

leave of absence in this case. Like Prof Jha states there has never been a cow-goddess or any temple 

in her honor anywhere in India. The right wing (Brahmins) Sanatan Dhairnis better rethink their cow 

strategy because at the moment they have made themselves the laughing stock.

Between the '(un)holy cow', the virulent anti-Muslim hatemongering and the propaganda of trying 

to co-opting of other Faiths there seems to be not much for the modern day Brahmins to come up 

with in order to fabricate and coalesce all the myriad sects under one `monolithic' Hinduism. Instead 

of wasting time on the cow, these sanctimonious self-proclaimed upholders of religion should spend

time feeding, educating and genuinely taking care of the downtrodden millions who are dirt poor in 

Hindu India partly due to the digressively rigid caste system in place.

This book had to be printed in the UK eventually, as the first printer changed his mind out of fear

and the second one was threatened. Prof Jha had a `fatwa' on his head issued by the Hindu right 

and was under protection for quite a long time. Honest, scholarship on Hinduism is becoming the

domain of only the brave, because the extremist Hindu fringe, threaten anyone writing critically, with 

dire consequences. Unfortunately, empathy and unpretentious brotherhood will be a mirage since

the religious texts themselves need to be seriously edited to a bare minimum in order to start genuine 

change in Hindu India. Once again Prof Jha has written a memorable classic.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Everyday Nationalism — Women of the Hindu Right in India

Everyday Nationalism — Women of the Hindu Right in India by Kalyani Devaki Menon (2010)

[224P] ISBN: 978-0-8122-4169-9 University of Pennsylvania Press

Book Review: Kavneet Singh

Kalyani Devaki Menon of Syracuse University wrote this book as her doctoral dissertation. The field work 

was conducted in the City of New Delhi in 1999. Among her sponsors one was the American Institute 

for Indian Studies a long arm of the Indian government which funds scholars in North America. Kalyani 

has used her field study work to show her real life perspective of Hindu women working for the RSS 

(Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) both extreme right wing political 


Chapter 1 — Everyday Histories

"Who lit the fire? "Atal Bihari Vajpayee, prime minister of India, asked this question at speech delivers 

in April 2002 while Hindu nationalists orchestrated a violent pogrom against the Muslim community 

in Gujarat. Asserting that Ivfuslims in Goclhra had set fire to a section of the Sabarmati Express 

transporting Hindu nationalists, Hindu mobs killed, tortured, and raped Muslim men and women to 

avenge the death of fifty seven individual killed in the fire. [Page 26]

It is shocking that the Prime Minister of a so-called democratic-secular country has the audacity to 

publicly act as a racist and no one can take him to task. No Hindu journalist in India or anywhere else 

has had the courage to tell the truth. These Hindu nationalists while stopped at the Ghodra train station 

actually tried to molest a Muslim street vendor's granddaughter — 14 year old Sophia, against his very 

vocal protest and then kidnapped the young girl and put her on the train. In the melee, while some Hindus 

were left behind, someone pulled the chain and stopped the train as it was about to leave. The Muslim auto 

rickshaw drivers and others tried to help save the girl, but in the meantime someone inside the train started 

a fire with a cooking stove which eventually killed all the Hindu men. This triggered one of the worst 

genocides against the Muslims statewide in Gujarat, planned, orchestrated by the RSS and VHP leaders 

with the help of the state apparatus in and around February 2002.

The image of a Hindu nation struggling for actualization against the tyranny ofi\Muslim rule is a key 

trajectory of the nationalist fantasy that grounds the Hindu nation. Indeed, it is a normative construction 

that is consistently recalled in the everyday narratives ofHindu nationalist women.

[Page 377

Kalyani nails the premise of her book and the key to the foundation on which the entire edifice of the 

RSS/ HP superstructure stands which is continually processed and fed to the base instincts of the rabidly 

insecure, the educated and uneducated Hindu masses. The pitch of all the women involved in inculcating 

the extremely racist propaganda is woven into a mythological history of the insecure, effeminate Hindu man 

who has never stood up to the Muslim aggression against the poor, insecure, pure, virgin, Hindu women, 

whose perceived chastity has been violated. The hypocrisy of the Hindu(s) is unbelievable. Across India, 

Brahmins and upper caste men routinely molest and rape lower caste women with impunity in rural areas. 

In fact with over 26,000 (2012) reported rapes, and 90% of the rapes gone unreported which makes the 

numbers over 260,000 annually nationwide. The question is whether all these rapes are being committed 

by Muslims and Christians? In the state of Karnataka girls as young as 11-12 are taken to temples at the 

onset of puberty and in the name of holy rituals, the temple priest(s), (dis)honorably deflower them. It is 

most sickening evidence of a demented religious practice, which again is with the full blessing of the Hindu 

Brahmins, which continues even today. For further proof watch the Hindi documovie called `Maya'. As of 

late 2012 a young Brahmin girl, Jyoti Pandey got gang raped in the capital of India. The primary reason it 

has got so much media coverage is that she is a Brahmin, because lower castes such as Shudras or Dalits are 

not important enough to be considered.

In Samiti representations men are portrayed as weak and lacking commitment, while women, through the 

figure ofJijabai, are depicted as integral to the historical creation of the Hindu nation. At the very chart 

of discrepant viewpoints of men and women is the suggestion that Jijabai, not Shivaji, was responsible for 

founding the Hindu nation. Jijbai's role is these stories is not simply to teach Shivaji the values, courage, 

and morality needed to become the leader and defender of the Hindu nation. Although she never takes up 

arms and only acts through Shivaji, through counseling and strategizing, she herself becomes this very 

leader and defender. [Page 52]

Kalyani makes her point very clear of how the Hindu nationalist women construct (fabricate) these age 

worn theories of a lost Hindu nation (Rashtriya) through the ineptitude of their own doing. Never once is 

the glaring fact brought out, which is that the hideous caste system is the bane of Hindu society as it breaks 

and disrupts any kind of unification. No enemies are required since there is no cohesion except complete 

disunion within their own socio-religious system. The upper castes do not want to do away with the caste 

system, instead have come up with `something' novel to unite the disunited.

Chapter 2 — National Insecurities

More important for the purposes of this chapter is that many of'the Christian communities are older 

than many traditions ofHincluism in India and understand themselves and their religious traditions to 

be "virtually indigenous ". Yet, despite the long history of Christianity in India, the women I worked with 

claimed that these new communities are the result of recent forcible attempts to convert low caste Hindus 

and "tribals" out of the fold. [Page 58]

Again the perceived conversion of communities who have been Christian for nearly two millennia 

in the minds of the Hindu nationalists is nothing short of being deluded. Hindu-ism only started to 

coalesce barely a century ago. It was one of the most fractured loosely held as thousands of sects, 

with very divergent religious views and those sects still exist, but today under the official stamp of 

legalized Hinduism due to political power of the upper castes in Hindu India. They (the rest) have 

been made official so that the Brahmins feel more secure, as power can only be gained by sheer 

numbers, otherwise Brahminism would be marginalized. This is extremely scary for the top tier 

Hindus, therefore this terrible insecurity which exists deep down in their beings, which forces them to 

overtly and covertly be violently fascist.

So since the day that the Christian Faith first set foot in this country, since that clay there has been rape 

and oppression of women in India. They come here and wear their short dresses, the

Christians wear them. [Page 71]

Christians set foot on the Malabar coast - modern day Kerala around 50 AD, that is nearly 2,000 

years ago and most of the converts were Brahmins since they were a somewhat educated. It is not 

the Syrian Christians of Kerala who dress inappropriately but rather the Hindu women who would 

go bare chested. While growing up I have seen women all over Southern India who barely cover their 

upper torso. In fact the Christians have always dressed modestly and Hindus have had no decorum. 

As far as rape and oppression, the upper caste Hindus themselves, are the criminals as they have 

been raping and oppressing the lower castes for more than two millennia with no abatement. The 

percentage of unreported and unabated rape by the upper castes against the lower castes is much 

higher in the rural areas than the urban. Poor lower caste and tribal women even today barely cover 

their chest in the South, Central and in the East. This ongoing fabrication of stories being passed 

off as history is really the heinous propaganda machine of the RSS/VHP very similar to Hitler and 

Goebel's anti-Semitic propaganda which eventually exterminated six million Jews.

Anti-Christian violence does more than send a message. Indeed, Arun Appadurai has argued that extreme 

violence is an effective way to fix identities, particularly in a world marked by uncertainty. Violence 

against Christians not only establishes them as threats to the nation but also promotes Hindu nationalists 

as true defenders of the Indian nation and creates a community of support for them. Fear of external 

threats becomes a way to unite people against a common enemy, a strategy that has been used extremely 

successfully by Hindu Nationalists in various contexts. [Page 78]

It is exceedingly clear that instead of teaching and inculcating correct Hindu values honestly to all 

Hindus so that they become better humans and citizens, the RSS/VHP combine, is a hate mongering 

propaganda machine geared to bring the ultimate downfall of so-called secular India. Unfortunately 

there is `not much' of ethical and moral value in the various, Brahminical Santana Dharma's scriptures 

to impart to the underclass. Therefore the only way forward, to unite a

disunited Hindu nation is to proselytize hate of `others' and actually perpetuate extreme violence to get their 

point across.

Chapter 3 — Violent Dhar na

In particular, two female renouncers, Sadhvi Rithambara and Uma Bharati, escalated to fame as they 

stood in front of crowds of Hindus exhorting them to defend Hinduism, destroy the mosque, and kill 

ivfuslims, who were constructed as the paramount threat to Hindu India...... In their speeches they suggest 

that Muslim men committed atrocities against Hindu women and figuratively violated the honor of India, 

conceived as the goddess Bharat Mata. [Page 83]

These two women have been at the forefront of the hate mongering for the last twenty years. They would be 

deemed terrorists and thrown in jail, in India if they belonged to any other faith group. This soft approach 

of fabricating fairy tales of the past and weaving them into a modern day event through women such 

as Uma and Rithambara is actually causing massive fissures in society and all minorities are becoming 

insular and defensive due to these murderous repercussions. It is astounding that these women even have 

a large fan base in North America and elsewhere. This kind of `hate propaganda' has been used against 

the Dalits, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians again and again by the RSS/VHP with the direct help of the central 

state machinery with impunity. All this is able to function solely because the highly corrupt national leaders 

are hand in glove with the judiciary, the police and the intelligence agencies. Out of the 500+ high court 

judges over 58% are Brahmins. Over 50% of the senior police officers are Brahmins. In the civil services 

between 40-75% of all positions are taken by Brahmins. India's (IB) Intelligence Bureau is comprised of 

100% Brahmins. It is strange that the Brahmins barely make up 3.5% of the Hindu population yet they 

hold powerful positions way out of proportion to their actual numbers. This vice like control of the national 

power is precisely why the Brahmins have and will continue to preach hate covertly and overtly, otherwise 

their status quo of political power can be upset very quickly if the deluded underclass wake up to their true 


The Gita became popular during the Hindu reform movement of'the colonial period and is now widely 

read and sold as an independent text. It has remained an important vehicle for religious politics and 

religious actions since Gandhi's use of'the text to construct his own philosophy of non-violent action. 

[Page 87]

The Gita is simply a part of the voluminous fairy tale Mahabharata, in which a one god king Krishna is 

giving a long lecture to Ai juna who is hesitating and indecisive whether to wage war against his first 

cousins the Kaurvas in a fratricidal battle. Krishna a supposed `god' is goading _ juna, not to worry about 

the consequences and instead, brainwashing him into making a fine decision to go ahead and fight and kill 

all his cousins, without worrying about the moral consequences. It is the greatest fallacy of men in general 

not to realize that the Gita is really a treatise which is making a `soldier' into a `terrorist' whose only j ob 

is to murder with impunity. In short, Krishna is teaching `Hindu Jihad' to Aijuna. Wow! If Hindu gods can 

teach terrorism

what can one expect of the RSS/VHP `human terrorists'? By the way, MK Gandhi did not practice 

non-violence. He feigned it for the public consumption. In reality he was a rabid Hindu and a violent 

man. During a prayer speech, "If we had the atom bomb we would have used it against the British". 

June 16, 1947 (Ref: Gandhi's `The Last Phase' Vol II, p 326} "Among the many misdeeds of the 

British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving, a whole nation of `arms' as the 

blackest."{Ref: Gandhi's Autobiography, Part V, Chapter XXVII} He even covered up a murder of 

an American engineer in Bombay by his disciples, that he went out of his way to appease the widow 

and make sure his own public image was not sullied. This con artist literally got away with murder of 

millions of Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus and yet is called the father of the Indian nation.

Chapter 4 — Benevolent Hindus

These mechanisms very clearly institute a hierarchical division between the patients and those in charge of 

dispensing health care. It also reinforces class divisions between patients, who are mostly urban poor, and 

the health care workers, who are lower-middle-class (orderlies, Urvashi, Shashi) and middle-class (nurses, 

doctors). This distinction was also clear in the class-based attitudes of health care workers toward patients. 

For example a hospital administrator told me to keep an eye on my purse because "these People" might 

steal my money. [Page 109]

On one hand the middle class RSS/VHP Hindu volunteers like Urvashi and Shashi are trying to do 

good but with a very clear ulterior motive for the long run, which is to get the support and buy in, 

of the lower castes into the RSS/VHP `scheme'. Also the hypocrisy of everyone up the class chain 

is very obvious. This is in fact exactly how Afro-Americans are treated by the EuroAmericans in a 

similar setting, except that the change for good is much faster in the US than it is in India. So the 

harsh reality is that the lowest castes are simply being coopted by the upper castes for their own 

selfish political reasons not because they have found their conscience, or have become casteless and/

or genuinely care. The reality is, if a Hindu officially drops his/her caste he/she does not remain a 

Hindu anymore!

Yet Sewa Bharati 's willingness to celebrate Sikh festivals suggests that the construction of nation does 

not preclude all non-Hindus. Like other in the movement, Sewa Bharati women believe the term "Hindu" 

encompasses all those religions whose tradition originated within the boundaries ofIndia. At the same 

time, unwillingness to celebrate Muslim and Christian festivals indicates that some religious minorities are 

clearly excluded from the Hindu nation. [Pages 113, 114]

If, India is really a supposed democratic country, based on so-called secular principles, then all the 

above flagrant racism flies in the face of all those ideals. When the Sikh, Buddhist and Jain Faiths 

originated there was no India. The Sikh Faith happened to be in South Asia but never in India and 

further the Hindu octopus loves to coopt anything that threatens it, especially the

casteless Sikh Faith which could bring the Brahminical edifice of Hinduism crumbling down. 

Further the Brahmin framers of the Indian constitution very cleverly shoved all the other three

South Asian Faiths under the purview of Hinduism permanently through Article 25 of the Constitution. 

The Sikhs have been protesting this blatant and grave injustice for over 62 years and yet even the Supreme 

Court refuses to relent, which makes these three independent Faiths into mere sects of Hinduism. The 

Jams went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2011 wanting to be independent of Hinduism but the (dis)

honorable court refused. On the other hand Islam and Christianity has been in South Asia for one and two 

millennia respectively, and should be given equal respect but the absolutely irrational RSS/VHP being who 

they are, will never do it.

Through the appropriation of traditions, stories, and practices that are sacred to Hindus, women activists 

suggest that Hindu nationalism is a religious movement with a dharmic charter, rather than a political 

movement with a Hindu chauvinistic one. [Page 129]

This is precisely the conundrum. The RSS/VHP agenda has a religious charter with an extremely overt 

political, chauvinist, publicly racist agenda which is exactly like the Hitler's Nazi propaganda with extreme 

violence clearly woven into it.

Chapter > — Fun, Games, and Deadly Politics

Below are the excerpts from her lecture: Raksha is something we do for ourselves while suraksha is 

something we give others. Our rashtra is a Hindu nation, while rashtriya is how we should think of our 

nation.......These intruders include missionaries and Muslims who have come to live with us. [Page 138]

These kinds of deceptive lectures are common across the spectrum in India. Christians and Muslims are 

the common enemy, but do include Sikhs, Dalits and anyone else who rankles the RSS/VHP, as they are 

fair game too, whenever the need arises. The Indian government instead of putting such people behind 

bars actually goads them on. Any non-Hindu doing the exact same `thing' would be arrested and charged 

for inciting religious violence. The application of laws in India are very selective, one for the upper caste 

Hindus and another for the rest. The entire power

structure is hand in glove with these rabidly fascist political parties.

Describing similar physical drills and commands at male shakas run by the RSS, Joseph Alter has 

argued that despite claims to indigenousness, these sessions are western in origin and designed to teach 

discipline and obedience to hierarchy. [P age 148]

Joseph Alter has correctly observed to some extent that the teaching sessions are western in their origin 

but not entirely. What the RSS/VHP machine wants, is, mindless slaves who follow their orders without 

a conscience, just like Krishna made ijuna a mindless slave to eventually kill all his first cousins in 

Mahabharata. That is the reason there have been more genocides committed in India than any other country 

on the globe since 1947. So the discipline maybe of western origin but the ideology is wholly Hindu, 

straight from the revered Bhagvad Gita.

Through such games the Samiti teaches girls to be aggressive and violent, qualities that are central to 

Hindu nationalism but are often neglected in the upbringing of middle-class and

middle-class Hindu girls. [Page 153]

Kalyani clearly shows how the RSS/VHP trains women into becoming violent to a degree that they 

actually support murder with impunity, because in India it happens regularly like clockwork. The only 

question is, `whose turn is it this time to be taught a lesson?'

Chapter 6 — Acceptable Transgressions

A male BJP activist sitting in the room with us responded jokingly that both of them should fill out 

reservation forms saying that they were chamars and take advantage of'reservation system. ivfandira 

was horrified by this suggestion: "Are you crazy? I have three daughters to marry. How can I do that?" 

[Page 178]

Overwhelmingly all the upper caste women are hypocrites. In public they pretend to be tasteless but when 

it comes to private socialization and especially marriage it is back to their caste. The funny thing is none 

of the lower castes had a say in whether they want to be part of Hinduism ever in the first place. Given a 

choice they would leave Hinduism immediately and all the reservation system would be done away with, 

but the upper castes would have the tables turned on them and they themselves would need the reservation 

(affirmative action) they currently hate

so much.

Kalyani Menon has done a pretty fair job of relaying the truth as she saw on her field trip to New Delhi in 

1999. Even though this is a snippet of what the RSS!!VHP are doing overall across India, it gives the lay 

reader outside India a look into this extremely worrying and scary reality of violent India which publicly 

claims to be non-violent like the world class charlatan MK Gandhi. While the world is busy worrying 

about Muslim extremism, the wide and large scale Hindu terrorism within India against `other' religious 

minorities goes on unnoticed, staying mostly under the radar. I would recommend this book to all students 

of Hinduism who need a reality check on the timid chaste Hindu women.